There are several reasons why the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is one of the most popular stops on the Gulf big-game circuit. Besides spirited competition, seven-figure cash prizes and warm hospitality, it boils down to the classic real estate mantra—Location, location, location. The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is smack dab in the middle of one of the prettiest stretches of coastline in the world. And the sugar-white sand and preserved habitat that encompass this part of the Sunshine State is capably showcased by the tournament’s Tourism Partner, Visit South Walton.

Natural Beauty

Located along a 26-mile stretch of beaches in Northwest Florida, South Walton encompasses 16 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its own visual style, amenities and charm. South Walton is home to four state parks, one state forest, and more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. The popular vacation and conference destination is easily accessible by car or via flights to nearby airports Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) or the Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS).

The major draw is the finely polished white sand beaches and emerald green Gulf. Water sports, including boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling are popular activities for all age groups. Fishing of all styles—fresh, inshore flats, bay, bottom and big-game—are available year-round. The region also boasts four artificial reef sites and includes 15 rare coastal dune lakes. The Grayton Beach, Topsail Hill Preserve, Eden Gardens and Deer Lake State Parks, plus the Point Washington State Forest, offer camping, wildlife viewing, eco-tours and hiking opportunities. Forty percent of Walton County’s total acreage (56,000 acres) is preserved in its natural state with a variety of unique habitats.


But natural beauty and the high-pitch whine of reel drags aren’t South Walton’s only attractions. The region is teeming with many fun and entertaining diversions, from eclectic shops and boutiques to art galleries, fine restaurants and major sporting and cultural events. The Emerald Coast Theater Company Series, the 30A Half Marathon/5K and the Live@ The Rep Concert Series are just a small sample of the entertainment options. Sandestin alone hosts Beer, Wine, Holiday Lights and Gumbo Festivals throughout the year.


South Walton offers a variety of lodging choices, too. From cozy romantic cottages to full scale resorts, the region is an ideal destination for conferences, corporate retreats, reunions and weddings.

So whatever the reason for the visit—fishing, family, friends—or all the above, South Walton is an upscale, yet casual place to unwind, recharge and build lasting memories. Learn more at or follow Visit South Walton on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.